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"Let's open them at the same time," Flint says. "You ready?"

Volkner raises an eyebrow, unimpressed by Flint's theatrics, but he says. "On the count of three, then. One, two—"

"Three!" Flint says, and rips the paper off of his present. Volkner unwraps his at a more sedate pace, sliding his finger beneath the tape to ease the gift wrap free without tearing it. This gives him time to watch Flint's face fall when he sees the black box his present is wrapped in.

"Oh," Volkner says, his hands pausing. "You don't like it."

"No! No, man, it's not that at all." Flint is shaking his head, looking oddly torn between laughter and distress. "Open your present, come on, you're like an old grandma unwrapping that thing."

"Someone took a lot of time to wrap this," he says. "I'm just respecting their work." He does work a little faster, though, if only to stave off the worry creeping into his gut.

He opens it and stares, dumbfounded, at the same black box.

Flint starts laughing. "It's just like that old saying, right? Great minds—"

Volkner doesn't say anything. The worried feeling settles and becomes something closer to numbness. Flint senses the change in his mood and turns towards him at once, smushing his cheeks with both of his hands. It's such an intimate, casually close gesture that Volkner's startled out of his thoughts.

For a moment they just stare at each other. Then Flint grins. "Of course I'm excited about it," he says. "It's like you read my mind."

"Mm," Volkner says. It's kind of hard to say anything more with his face being pressed like this.

Flint laughs and lets him go. "Come on, open it," Flint says, nudging his shoulder. "Open it, open it."

He opens his box as Volkner opens his, and finds an evolution stone encased in black velvet, just like Volkner has in his own box.

"This is so awesome," he says. "It feels like fate, you know? Getting eevees from the lady at the day care last month, and then getting evolution stones at the same time, too. Do you want to evolve them now? Oh, maybe it's better to wait until morning, when they're more rested."

"Tomorrow's Christmas," Volkner points out.

"Yeah, it seems like a good time. If they want to, I mean."

Volkner nods. He picks up the evolution stone in his hands. It's well polished, and seems like lightning flashes in its depths.

"Thank you," he says.

Flint's expression softens. He leans in slowly, knowing Volkner gets overwhelmed by too much physical contact. Maybe it's already too much, having Flint excitable and in his personal space, and he already touched his face one before. "Can I kiss you?" he asks.

Volkner turns red, which is predictable; and says "Yes," which is less predictable. Flint's smile widens.

He doesn't mean to drag things out, but Volkner reaches up carefully to lace his fingers together at Flint's nape, lingering against his mouth.

"Oh," Flint says when Volkner pulls back. "It's like that, huh?"

"It's like that," Volkner says, a slow smile lighting his face.

"You really liked the present? Even though I guess it wasn't very imaginative."

"Is that a roundabout way of calling me unimaginative?" Volkner says, raising an eyebrow.

"You? Never," Flint says. "You're the most creative guy I know."

Volkner huffs, apparently mollified, and leans in to kiss him again. Flint gets halfway into his lap and has his jacket mostly off by the time he speaks up again. "You're right, though," he says. "I guess it was a pretty predictable present if we came up with the same thing."

Flint laughs. "Our eevees are going to be the best. Just like us! I can't wait until tomorrow." And the day after that, and after that, he thinks. "Merry Christmas, Volkner."

"Merry Christmas," Volkner murmurs.